James Duddridge was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Rochford & Southend East in May 2005 and re-elected in 2010, 2015, 2017 and 2019. Born in 1971, James lives in Southend with his wife Katy, their two young sons Tom and Henry, their daughter Mary and their two cats Barney and Charlie.
Upon leaving Essex University, James went on to pursue a successful business career in the private sector. He was a banker with Barclays in the City of London and Africa for 10 years, rising to National Sales Director in the Ivory Coast and eventually running the bank’s operations in Botswana with a staff of 750 people. He was also a founder member of the highly successful national polling firm YouGov. He remains interested in financial matters and the effect of legislation on business.
Prior to entering the House of Commons in 2005 with a majority of 5,494, James fought the Labour stronghold of Rother Valley in the General Election in 2001, achieving a 5% swing in his favour. James was re-elected in May 2010 with a majority of 11,050 and received 46.9% of the vote share and was elected again in May 2015 with a majority of 9,746 and 46.4% of the vote share. In June 2017, James was re-elected for a fourth time with a majority of 5,548 and received and increased vote share of 48.7%. In the 2019 General Election, James was re-elected for the fifth time with a majority of 12,286 and 58.7% of the vote share - the largest in the constituency’s history.
James is active in the local community and has run a number of campaigns in Rochford & Southend, including:
- Successfully preventing the closure of Sutton Road Post Office
- Successfully secured the opening of a new driving test centre for Southend following the closure of the previous centre in 2008
- Supporting Southend's cancer centre
- Stopping the merger of Essex's police force
- Campaigning for fair funding for Southend Council and an accurate Census in 2011
- Disposal of radioactive waste
In addition to his campaigns, James also works closely with local schools and community groups, and has hosted several visits to Westminster to encourage young people to take an active interest in politics. While in the House of Commons, James sat on both the Commons Environment Select Committee, and the International Development Select Committee. He was appointed to David Cameron’s front-bench in January 2008 as Opposition Whip with responsibility for the Department of Work and Pensions and the Cabinet Office. In December 2008 he was promoted within his role as Opposition Whip, and was responsible for the Treasury department.
In Parliament, James has also served on committees scrutinising legislation, such as the Charities Bill, Corporate Manslaughter Bill, Planning Bill and Pensions Bill. His policy interests include pensions, financial services and Africa, in particular Zimbabwe.
After being re-elected in May 2010 James was appointed a Lord Commissioner and Government Whip with responsibility for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department of Education. In October 2011 James moved departments to become Home Office Whip. James returned to the back benches in September 2012. James was appointed by the Prime Minster as a Minister at the Foreign Office between August 2014 and July 2016. His responsibilities included Africa, Overseas Territories and Caribbean.
In 2019, he was appointed as a Minister at the Department for Exiting the European Union. Then, after delivering Brexit, James was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development on 13 February 2020.
In his spare time, James enjoys spending time with his wife Katy and their children, Tom, Henry and Mary. James takes a keen interest in sport, especially football, supporting his local team Southend United, as well as Southampton. He also enjoys reading local history books, DIY and real ale, although not always in that order!